This is not a very deep or remarkably talented team. The Mountaineers have no reason to be ashamed of the high-end talent on offense. The quality rivals anyone's in the Big 12. The quantity does not. This conference praises quality. It rewards quantity.
Holgorsen and the team's two defensive coordinators, Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson, both forewarned followers it would be hard, though that shouldn't excuse anything that has and has not happened.
Still, WVU has trouble with quality and quantity on defense. The shortage of players is complicated by a shortage of versatility. The Mountaineers have run stoppers who are not pass rushers and vice versa. They have cornerbacks who better safeties and vice versa.
It's probably fair to remember these are players recruited to play a 3-3-5 and to play defense against Rutgers and Pitt and Connecticut in November and December in the Northeast. The collective talent on offense in the Big 12 is superior beyond explanation.
Yet whether or not your eyes have been opened, you understand WVU is at its weakest on defense at cornerback. And the Mountaineers have started six different cornerbacks. Six! They only have eight on scholarship and two are redshirting. Basically, if you're a cornerback at WVU, you've played this season, even if you weren't ready.
At long last, and as an illustration of the overall challenge of this transition, Holgorsen admits he has kids who have "no business playing at this point in his career." They're playing and starting and really only because the coaches are spitballing now.
"Two have not stepped up and taken control of the position," he said. "This is a tough league to play corner in. You've got some pretty good receivers. None of our guys have stepped up and said, 'This is my position. I'm going to make enough plays to where I'm not going to get taken out.'"
You can excuse Holgorsen for not saying that a month ago because you can imagine the reaction it would have generated. Yet you can expect he's known all along. Stated in the present, it's merely a statement people can accept and understand. They saw it. Now their coach has addressed it. Together they can move onward.
But to what? WVU has its eight scholarship corners and only Pat Miller is a senior. If the others return and they're all healthy and ready to play, the Mountaineers are still close to the maximum number of cornerbacks they can afford to keep on scholarship.
People say it can and it must be fixed by recruiting. They might not want to hear Holgorsen's reply, but they should probably listen this time.
"You have six guys that are young and those freshmen need years to develop before they will be adequate in covering some of these Big 12 receivers," he said. "We are not in that situation as a program right now. It is going to take some time."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.